Big 12's best, worst BCS moments

June, 28, 2012
6/28/12
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Today we're saying goodbye to the BCS after its death warrant was effectively signed by college football's commissioners and university presidents.

I actually didn't hate the BCS -- to be replaced by a playoff in 2014 -- as much as many did. I saw it for what it was: better than the old bowl system, even if it presented lots of high-volume arguments over the course of its life. That said, I've always been pro-playoff, even if I never truly believed I would see it in my lifetime. I'm so, so happy to be wrong.

To help lay the BCS to rest, we're naming each conference's best and worst BCS moments, so here's what qualified for the Big 12.

BEST MOMENT: Oklahoma slides into title game ahead of Texas

[+] EnlargeMack Brown and  Bob Stoops
James D. Smith/Icon SMIMack Brown, left, and Texas beat Oklahoma in the 2008 regular season, but Bob Stoops' team got into a BCS game over the Longhorns.
My apologies, Longhorns fans, but give me a second to explain myself. The 2008 season was one of the craziest in the history of the BCS, and the epicenter for the craziness was the Big 12 South. Oklahoma, Texas and Texas Tech tied for the South title, but the three-team tiebreaker had to be settled by ... wait for it .... the BCS rankings. Oklahoma got the edge and played in the Big 12 title game, despite Texas winning the head-to-head matchup in the Cotton Bowl in October and the teams having identical 11-1 records at the time.

Oklahoma advanced, routing Missouri in the Big 12 title game while Texas fans flew planes over the stadium towing "45-35" banners commemorating the score of the seemingly meaningless Red River Rivalry game earlier that season. It was an ugly moment, but it was one of the many instances that highlighted the silliness of the BCS -- and it was a showcase for just how strong the Big 12 was that season. All three Big 12 South co-champions finished the regular season 11-1.

WORST MOMENT: Creation of the "Kansas State Rule"

In 1998, the very first season of the BCS' existence, Kansas State racked up a school-record 610 points on the way to an undefeated regular season and held the nation's No. 1 ranking entering the Big 12 title game against Texas A&M. The Aggies upset the favored Wildcats in double overtime for their only Big 12 title, and despite falling to No. 3 in the BCS standings, all of the BCS bowls passed on inviting K-State. The Wildcats beat three top-20 teams during the season, but A&M was the first top-10 team they'd faced all season. Instead, K-State fell all the way to the Alamo Bowl, where it lost to Purdue.

That served as validation for some, a team lost in time and rendered irrelevant by an ugly bowl loss to a middling, unranked Big Ten team. That doesn't change the fact K-State got royally shortchanged by the BCS in that first year. After that disaster, the BCS installed a rule that required teams ranked No. 3 in the BCS (and No. 4 if the No. 3 team was a conference champion) to be given a BCS bowl bid. USC took advantage of that rule in 2002; Texas did so in 2004 and 2008; Ohio State used it in 2005; and Michigan did so in 2006. The most recent team to qualify? Last season's Stanford team, which lost to Oklahoma State.

Honorable mention: Alabama plays for national title ahead of Oklahoma State in 2011; Missouri gets passed up in favor Kansas for a BCS bowl after the 2007 season, despite beating KU and losing twice to Oklahoma; TCU gets matched up with fellow non-AQ member Boise State in the 2010 Fiesta Bowl.

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